Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Joseph Henry Phlegar. Confederate Soldier and Williamson Cousin

Joseph Henry Phlegar

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello to All,
In tonight’s virtual family reunion we discuss the email I received from a distant Phlegar cousin from North Carolina sent to everyone in an earlier email. I’m currently interested in our family’s historical military service, which is why you’ve seen several posts recently covering their heroic service. We are all proud of our family members who served and currently serve in the armed forces. On the Williamson side we currently have cousin Andrew Williamson currently serving in the armed forces, having returned from active duty in Afganistan recently. We are proud of him.

In tonight’s post I’d like to introduce you to a Phlegar cousin who served in the Confederate Army. His name was Joseph Henry Phlegar. He was our 2nd cousin four times removed.

First his relation to all of us is outline below:

And now the Story of our cousin, Joseph Henry Phlegar


Joseph Henry Phlegar

Joseph was born to Isaac George Phlegar and Sarah Catherine Rutherford on Thursday, August 15, 1839 in the rolling hills of Floyd County, Virginia. He was the first of 5 children for Isaac and Sarah. Joseph married the love of his life in 1860, Angeline C. Epperly.

Joseph and Angeline were blessed with thirteen children, with the first being expected when Joseph enlisted in the 54th Virginia Infantry, CSA, April 15, 1861. April 30, 1862 in Virginia, Joseph was one of 4 enlistees diverted by Captain Culpepper Pelham from the 54th to Stuarts Horse Artillery. Captain Pelham had promised his men that Stuarts Horse Artillery would be very active and on the move in the months ahead.

Captain Pelham kept his word, moving from Culpepper through Richmond, then to the Virginia peninsula, taking part in many skirmishes in early May of 1862. Although close by, roads had become almost impassable due to rains and prevented them from assisting in the Battle of Seven Pines.

Early June, the Brigade moved to Hanover C.H., and June 25th joined forces with Stonewall Jacksons troops in the Shenandoah Valley. They encountered enemy troops at Cold Harbor, White House, Bottoms Bridge, Providence Forge and back to Malvern Hill.

Early July the brigade was encamped on the banks of James River in Charles City County. There purpose was to harass the enemy transport boats and gunboats, including the Monitor.

Most of July and August was spent in the Northern Neck area of Virginia, with many skirmishes and protecting the Virginia Central Railroad in Gordonsville, VA.

August 29th Battle of 2nd Manassas, September 17th, Battle of Sharpsburg, then crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains in late October, and was involved in the Ten Days skirmishes. From there, Stuart was ordered to Fredericksburg, Virginia in early December.

On Saturday, December 13, 1862 at the Battle of Fredericksburg Joseph receive a serious wound by an enemy shell, resulting in the loss of his right forearm.

Joseph was ultimately sent to a converted tobacco warehouse in Lynchburg, Virginia to recuperate. Joseph had fought at the side of many great Confederate leaders, General Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Lieutenant General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson, Major General James E. B. Stuart, Lieutenant Col. John Pelham, Major James Breathed, and Captain Robert Beckham. After being released from the hospital in Lynchburg, Joseph was to spend the rest of the war at home with Angeline and a growing family.

Submitted by Carolyn E. Austin, wife of Thomas E. Austin, Great, Great, Grandson.


  1. Victor,
    To add some contemporary information to Joseph Henry's military life, here is the text of a letter:

    Caroline County Va.
    December the 17th 1862

    Dear wife
    it is withe the greatest pleasure I have this oportunity to write you a few lines to inform you that I am harty but am vary near layed up with the rumates I have not bin able for duty for 2 days I can inform you that we had a hard fite saturday 13 of this month at fredricksbirg our batery was in all day and our loss was severe we had 2 men ciled [illed] and 8 wounded there were 3 floyd’s [Floyd County] boys wounded Joseph phleager Samuel Ivins and henderson Boothe the other 5 was all slitely wounded but 1 man lost his arm pheager lost his rite arm Ivins was struck on the breast the docktor dont think he will eaver git well boothe was struck on the shoulder but not brake the skin it was a hot fite the canons at day lite and went on till dark bothe sides stood there ground we was under a shour of shells all day our loss was greater than all our loss before since last spring put to geather our company has bin in many hard places before but all ways come out safe before but we art to be thankfull that we come out. [Four words illegible because of crease in paper] for it looked to me like there was canon balls a nuff [enough] shot at us to cill [kill] the hole army the shells few as thick as haill--burse all around me but but thank god they never struck me yet. they struck so close to me that several times they threwed my fase full of dirt we had 14 horses ciled [killed] 2 of them was ciled in 3 or 4 feet of me there aint no fun in this sort of wirk [work] so I wont say any more about it and I expect this is more than you want to heare the yankys has gon back on the other side of the river again and we moved 15 milds [miles] down the river to port royal the yanks and longstreet are shelling one another every day across the river the yankys has nocked fredricks. [Fredericksburg] all to peases and burnt it vary near all up. you all must do the best you can and I will try and git a furlow and come home this winter it is vary cold to day I think it will snow before nite so no more at present but gave my love and respects to all tell molly and sis that I want to see them vary bad
    hoping these few lines will find you all wel I will quit for this time I remain your loving husband till death excuse my pencil for I have no ink
    Wm. P. Walters

    With the compliments of Robert Phlegar, dec'd, one of our family's avid genealogists and a close cousin of mine. "Bob" discovered this letter by belonging to the military group which today honors the Stuart Horse Artillery. I don't know if the group is still active.

    Melanie Crain

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